Malcolm Gladwell’s secret weapon

A quick reminder: Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer with The New Yorker since 1996 and best-selling author based in New York City. He is known for his books The Tipping PointBlinkOutliers, and What the Dog Saw. Gladwell’s books and articles usually deal with the implications of research in the social sciences.

Every trade has its role models. And for me, there is no better model for copywriters than Malcolm Gladwell.
Did my last sentence surprise you?
Are you thinking: “No way, Gladwell is a serious writer not a copywriter.”
Here’s what Malcolm said about himself in his book What the Dog Saw:
“Growing up, I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a lawyer, and then in my last year of college, I decided I wanted to be in advertising. I applied to eighteen advertising agencies in the city of Toronto and received eighteen rejection letters, which I taped in a row on my wall. (I still have them somewhere.)”

Why did Malcolm want to be in advertising? My guess is because he wanted to mingle with some of the most fun writers to read in the history of the human kind—copywriters. You see, copywriting is a commitment—a commitment to engage with people in a manner that they will value, and yes, perhaps even enjoy.

Here’s again Malcolm (from his book What the Dog Saw):
“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. Not the kind of writing you’ll find in this book, anyway. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head — even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not the place you’d really like to be. I’ve called these pieces adventures, because that’s what they are intended to be. Enjoy yourself.”

Malcolm’s “secret weapon”: He thinks and writes like an authentic copywriter.
Said differently, while he doesn’t overlook the mind, he understands that the heart is the bull’s-eye.
Did you, for example, notice how he calls his stories adventures?

Malcolm also understands that the icing is not the cake, and the icing does not make the cake.
Said differently, his writing is just the icing. The cake: true, interesting stories.
And when the two come together, he’s got a beautiful package that’s hard to ignore.

Please don’t forget, as Malcolm said, this story is not an attempt to persuade you to do anything.
Just a glimpse into my head :-).